(Close Window)
Topic: Tour Question (yeah another)
Message: Posted by: templemagic (May 11, 2004 07:59AM)

I am a 17 year old illusionist from North East England. Me and a team of dancers, a technician and a stage manager are planning on taking a full 2 hour illusion show on a theatre tour in a couple of years.

The only thing that I am slightly hesitant about is the risk of losing money - i.e. I don't think I would but if it is ok to try it with reasonable confidence of success then why havent other people done it?

I am looking for feedback on this as well as general advice for how to go about aspects of the tour that you may know more about than me. I am open to any advice. Feel free to pm me or email me if there is any sensitive information or private information. Also anyone with any ideas for contents of the show or who may be loosely involved in illusion design please pm me also.

Message: Posted by: General Practicioner (May 11, 2004 08:23AM)
I don't want to sound too negative but it is a very ambitious and difficult undertaking that you are suggesting. For a 17 year old it would be even more so. Of course you are proposing to take this on the road when you are 19. You are still young though and I venrure to say that this is a project for an experienced person.

I am not saying it can't be done. I am saying that on the face of it the odds are against you. The chances of you losing money are very high indeed. In the best case scenario you will probably break even. In the worst (and far more likely) case you will indeed lose money.

Even some big time theatrical entrepreneurs lose money on stage productions. You may well go along the same route.

On the other hand you are very wise in coming here to seek advice. Hopefully you will get it from people experienced in what you have just described. There will be very few I imagine.

Be careful. You could be in for a penurious and stressful experience. I am not saying it cannot be done. There are always exceptions and exceptional individuals. You may be one of them.

Tread carefully though. The odds are against you. Knowing this will actually be in your favour if you do plunge ahead.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Just to discourage you further bear in mind the case of the famous and very experienced Peter Reveen.

It is well known that he would consistently lose money on his illusion show and have to make it back by performing his more profitable hypnotism show.

Incidentally Reveen had the greatest illusion show that I have ever seen. It was an artistic triumph but sadly not a financial one from what I understand.

Again tread carefully.
Message: Posted by: Lyndel (May 11, 2004 09:02AM)
Try it and succeed - and you'll be thrilled with the outcome.

Try it and fail - and at least you can say you tried it...

You mentioned you had a team of people which included dancers, a stage manager, and a technician. My advice is to add an agent to that mix who understands your goals and will assist you in planning the tour well in advance.

Do not allow naysayers and negative people to influence your hopes and dreams. Set your goals, create a solid business plan, and pursue your career with every fiber of your being and you WILL succeed!

Even if you fail financially, you will succeed in being true to yourself and successful in following your dreams.

American author Christopher Morley once said, "There is only one success ... to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it."

Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (May 11, 2004 09:16AM)
Mr. Temple,

It's fabulous to see that you're so ambitious to try something like a tour!

Although I'm not experienced in touring, I would suggest contacting a few others who have toured. TheDean has toured in the past, as have several on this board.

I'm sure you'll get some excellent advice and though your tour may not become a reality right away, never quit trying to make it work.

It takes 20 years to become an overnight success mate! You're well on your way!

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: templemagic (May 11, 2004 10:27AM)
Thanks guys,

I love this place it gives so much support and good advice. Thanks for all warnings and support. Any more advice would be much appreciated,

Message: Posted by: RayBanks (May 11, 2004 12:19PM)
Here's a good resource. I'm surprised Robert didn't put this up.

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (May 11, 2004 01:04PM)
Shhh! It's a secret!

- Donald.

P.S. Don't read my signature area. :)
Message: Posted by: christopher carter (May 11, 2004 01:11PM)
Among other things, I recommend you purchase a copy of Booking and Tour Management for the Performings Arts, by Rena Shagan.

Theater touring is very risky financially, and very complicated logistically. There are, however, a number of ways to minimize risk via sponsorship that have been applied in the USA by illusionists and hypnotists for years. I would strongly recommend exploring some of these approaches, since without them the potential financial loss is, well, huge. I doubt that there is a way to eliminate the complexity of a touring show, so all the more reason to study as widely as possible.

Good luck. It sounds exciting.

Message: Posted by: The Cardfather (May 13, 2004 06:03PM)
I would guess if you have a good advance person, someone who runs ads, post playbills, flyers weeks before your arrival in each city you have a good shot.
Good luck, Rick
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (May 13, 2004 07:55PM)
There are three main ways to work in legit theaters. One way is to straight out rent the theater and handle all the promotiona and technical costs yourself. Big risk, but big reward if you have the drawing power. Not recommended for your first time out.

A second way is to partner with the theater, selling the show for a smaller fixed guarantee, sharing in any profits past the break even point. This can be a win/win if done correctly.

A third way is to sell the packaged show to the theater for a set fee and they handle everything else, and of course, reap any profit. You will need to attend the bookers showcases and esablish a track record. This can take several years to build, but you know your costs.

I've described these three methods in greater detail in Volume Two of Success in Magic - 64 New Ways to Make Magic pay. You can also do a search on Dean's site for more information.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (May 13, 2004 09:34PM)
I just completed my fourth PROFITABLE regional theater tour of my large variety revue Swingin' At The Roxy. It can be done. It can be risky, but if you are smart you can minimize if not eliminate all the risks. Give me a shout if you wan to learn more.
Message: Posted by: templemagic (May 14, 2004 06:40AM)
Thanks for all the advice guys, you're a great help,


Thanks for the idea - ideas 2 and 3 may be better ways to start out first time round (especially idea 2)

Thanks again,
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (May 14, 2004 08:12PM)
In a partnering deal, you would sell the show for a lower guarantee, which covers your expenses, plus a percentage of the profits over the breakeven point.

If you want to try partnering with a theater a good place to start is with a smaller children’s theater or arts center in your region. For example, a friend of mine runs the Steamer 10 Theater in Albany, NY. It is a 120-seat theater that produces a season of children’s and family shows.

During the third week in February, when schools are on winter recess, he books children’s shows every day, often filling the house with families looking for activities.

For over a decade, I have been presenting my show there on a 50/50% split deal. We just split the box office receipts from the shows equally. I do not even ask for a guarantee because I know the shows sell out.

We start by scheduling two shows – at 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM - on one day of the “school’s out” week. When those shows sell out, we add a third show at 3:00 PM. My show traditionally sells out all three shows. Demand has been so great that for the past two years that we have even added a 3:30 PM show on the day before, selling that one out also.

With an average ticket price of $7.00, that’s a potential gross of $3380. My split is $1680. In addition, I average about $75 each show selling magic tricks and books after the performance, for another $300 in concession sales. My total income for the four shows is nearly $2000, and my friend makes the same for the theater. It’s a win/win for both of us.

You could approach a children’s theater in your area and offer a similar deal. Be sure that you are included in the theater's season brochure and other promotion. If you have a larger show that includes illusions, and if the theater has more seats and traditionally draws larger audiences, you could do very well. Or, if the show doesn’t sell, you could make nothing. Welcome to the world of show business!
Message: Posted by: templemagic (Jun 23, 2004 08:32AM)
Also, though this doesn't quite fit into the tricky business section but it comes under this topic, I am looking for people who will offer there ideas in terms of the structure of the show and some possible illusions via PM and email. I am not able to pay you for your support yet but I am not asking for proper formal consultation just a bit of help.

Anyone who may be interested, feel free to pm me.

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jun 23, 2004 09:43AM)
Robert -

You may be interested in a post I made on this thread: [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=70487&forum=26&16]Look for the twelfth post down, where I talk about a basic illusion show outline / structure.[/url]

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Jun 23, 2004 10:27AM)
Hi Robert,
I have seen him perform and you are pretty good, I know cynthia neptune (or I hope) has confidence in you. I think you should rent out halls to start that way you might no lose much money. I would get a few adverts in local papers to were your perfrming poster for shop windows etc Are you paying the dancers? if so and you fail its your back pocket that's gonna suffer mate! You have a good idea, as a fellow ambitous person if you do tour you'll see me with a hat and a glasss on at the back taking notes! I hope you do well, if I was nearer I wouldn't mind helping out. Remeber to plan your illusions well, put david c style routines to make them last longer as 2hrs is a
long time( maybe you should put the old noddy act in lol) I wish great success to you.
Message: Posted by: thebigbadal (Jul 2, 2004 07:57PM)
Have you tried talking to some local Theatre touring groups. They will have a lot of experience about touring on a budget.
Have you looked into sponsorhip, lottery money and even seeing if the princes' trust can help with finance and advice.
Message: Posted by: MagicalPirate (Jul 2, 2004 08:24PM)
Put your show together and start out performing fund raising shows for charitable groups. You split the take and you are at a much reduced position of losing money on the venture. John Kaplan has a whole course on the system. You can also find a package on this from the [url]http://www.stagehypnosiscenter.com[/url] site in their store. Good luck with your endeavor.

Martin :pirate: